Jenson Button has played down claims that McLaren’s risky gamble with its fuel loads was the reason for the near-disaster during the Turkish grand prix.
It has emerged that because Lewis Hamilton and teammate Button chased the Red Bulls so hard at Istanbul Park, the drivers were instructed throughout the race to conserve fuel.
Button’s race engineer at one point described the situation as “critical”, shortly after Hamilton had slowed down too much and triggered their wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead.
Afterwards, Hamilton lamented the poor communication and Button was accused of ignoring veiled team orders, sparking the rejoinder that McLaren could have avoided the entire situation by simply running a less aggressive fuel strategy.
But speaking to the Toronto media on Tuesday, 30-year-old Button said the team is right to run the cars as light on fuel as possible.
“If you’re running with two and a half extra kilos in the car, that’s one tenth a lap, which over the course of the race is five seconds. So you try to be as close on fuel as possible,” he insisted.
It is believed that Hamilton’s winning car had just one litre of fuel left in the tank after he pulled into parc ferme, while Button’s MP4-25 contained only slightly more.